The Bible (TV series)
|Produced by||Roma Downey
Julian P. Hobbs
|Based on||The Bible|
|Narrated by||Keith David|
|Production company||LightWorkers Media|
|Original run||March 3, 2013 (2013-03-03) – April 1, 2013 (2013-04-01)|
|Running time||440 minutes|
|No. of episodes||10|
|[www.bibleseries.tv Official website]|
The Bible is a television miniseries based on the Bible. It is produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett and was broadcast weekly between March 3 and March 31, 2013 on History Channel. Burnett considers the scripted 10-hour series to be the "most important" project he has undertaken. The project was conceived by Burnett and Downey, who are married, after watching Cecil B. DeMille's version of The Ten Commandments for the first time since childhood. ...The first episode of the mini-series was seen by 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable television audience of 2013 to date. The second installment continued "to deliver blockbuster ratings" for the network, attracting 10.8 million viewers. The third installment on March 17, 2013 was once again the No. 1 show on all of Sunday night television with 10.9 million total viewers. In addition, the series garnered 4.2 million adults 25–54 and 3.5 million adults 18–49.
The series covers "Genesis to Revelation" in "one grand narrative," within five two-hour parts, each containing two or three biblical stories told through live action and computer-generated imagery. According to Burnett, it included "obvious" stories such as Noah's Ark, the Exodus, and the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Five hours are taken from the Old Testament, five from the New. The series is based on the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
Downey and Burnett said their "greatest hope" in making the series was that it would "affect a new generation of viewers and draw them back to the Bible."
"Part of what we hoped to accomplish with the series was to show the Bible is not simply a collection of unconnected stories which are often discussed and analyzed in snippets with chapter and verse numbers," the couple wrote in an op-ed in The Huffington Post. "Instead, we wanted to show how the Old Testament connects seamlessly to the New Testament. How they are one sweeping story with one grand, overriding message: God loves each one of us as if we were the only person in all the world to love."
In May 2011, The New York Times reported that Downey, Burnett and their production team were selecting stories for the series, with production scheduled to begin in 2012 for a 2013 broadcast. The budget for the series was under $22 million. Researchers and theologians were asked to verify accuracy. Academic consultants included Craig A. Evans, Helen Bond, Paula Gooder, Mark Goodacre and Candida Moss. Shooting took place in Morocco and elsewhere.
Burnett and Downey consulted "a wide range of pastors and academics," including their friend Joel Osteen, Joshua Garroway (a rabbi from Hebrew Union College), and a Catholic cardinal. Geoff Tunnicliffe of the World Evangelical Alliance, read each episode's script and visited the set in Morocco: he "wanted to be sure that the final edits would hold together as a singular thematic message throughout the entire series" and "was not disappointed." Another consultant, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, applauded the couple's courage for making the series: "Let's face it, it takes some moxie to lift up the Bible in the middle of Hollywood. In fact, when they first proposed the project they were told to try and tell the story without mentioning Jesus. They refused."
Other project advisors included: 
- Rick Warren (pastor, Saddleback Church)
- Erwin McManus (pastor, Mosaic)
- Paul Eshleman (Campus Crusade for Christ)
- Bobby Gruenewald (YouVersion Bible)
- Brad Lomenick (Catalyst)
- Leith Anderson (president, National Association of Evangelicals)
- Frank Wright (president, National Religious Broadcasters)
- Tom Peterson (Catholics Come Home)
- Luis Palau (Christian evangelist)
- Denny Rydberg (Young Life)
- Andrew Benton (president, Pepperdine University)
Days before the series premiere, Downey and Burnett authored an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal arguing that Bible teaching should be mandatory in U.S. public schools because "(t)he foundations of knowledge of the ancient world – which informs the understanding of the modern world – are biblical in origin."
The cast is an "international ensemble" chosen to avoid "distract[ing] the audience with recognizable celebrities"; "many" of the actors came from a background in London's theatre district. For the purposes of this list, each hour is a whole episode.
- Diogo Morgado as Jesus Christ (5 episodes)
- Darwin Shaw as Peter (5 episodes)
- Paul Brightwell as Malchus (4 episodes)
- Roma Downey as Mother Mary (4 episodes)
- Greg Hicks as Pontius Pilate (4 episodes)
- Sebastian Knapp as John (4 episodes)
- Amber Rose Revah as Mary Magdalene (4 episodes)
- Adrian Schiller as Caiaphas (4 episodes)
|#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||US Viewers
|1||"In the Beginning"||Crispin Reece||Richard Bedser, Alexander Marengo, Colin Swash, Nic Young||March 3, 2013 (2013-03-03)||13.10|
|Noah tells of the Creation story and Fall while aboard the ark; Abrahamic covenant; the Battle of the Vale of Siddim; Hagar and Ismael; birth of Isaac; Abraham is tested; Sodom and Gomorrah; Moses learns of his roots, kills a soldier, and flees Egypt.|
|2||"Exodus"||Crispin Reece||Richard Bedser, Alexander Marengo||March 3, 2013 (2013-03-03)||13.10|
|God speaks to Moses through the burning bush; Moses returns to Egypt; ten Plagues of Egypt; Moses leads the Israelites in The Exodus; Moses parts the Red Sea; Moses receives the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai; Joshua becomes the leader of the Israelites; the Israelites camp outside of Jericho; Joshua sends spies into Jericho.|
|3||"Homeland"||Tony Mitchell||Richard Bedser, Adam Rosenthal, Nic Young||March 10, 2013 (2013-03-10)||10.80|
|Joshua invades and conquers Jericho; Delilah betrays Samson, a hero of the Israelites who battled against Philistines.|
|4||"Kingdom"||Tony Mitchell||Richard Bedser, Colin Swash, Nic Young||March 10, 2013 (2013-03-10)||10.80|
|Samuel anoints Saul as king, a move that could throw the nation into civil war; Saul is consumed with jealousy over the crown when David defeats Goliath; King David ushers a golden age for Israel, but is soon seduced by power and lust for Bathsheba; God forgives David, and Solomon builds God's temple in Jerusalem.|
|5||"Survival"||Crispin Reece||Richard Bedser, Nic Young||March 17, 2013 (2013-03-17)||10.9|
|Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar, the Jews are enslaved in Babylon; Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den, but when his faith endures and God spares him, the Jews are allowed to return to Jerusalem.|
|6||"Hope"||Crispin Reece||Richard Bedser, Nic Young||March 17, 2013 (2013-03-17)||10.9|
|During the time Roman occupation, the Angel Gabriel tells Mary she will bear a child; Joseph takes Mary to Bethlehem for the census, where Jesus is born; the Holy family escapes Herod’s order to kill Bethlehem’s male babies; Judea comes under the ruthless rule of Pilate; John baptizes Jesus, who is now ready to take on his mission – and his revolution; Jesus and Peter meet.|
|7||"Mission"||Christopher Spencer||Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Nic Young||March 24, 2013 (2013-03-24)||10.3|
|Jesus feeds the crowds in Galilee and brings a dead man, Lazarus, back to life; Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey – a declaration that he is the Messiah; Jesus turns on the money-changers in the Temple.|
|8||"Betrayal"||Christopher Spencer||Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash, Nic Young||March 24, 2013 (2013-03-24)||10.3|
|Caiphas coaxes Judas into betraying Jesus; Jesus throws the disciples into turmoil at the Last Supper; Jesus is arrested and condemned to death as the disciples scatter.|
|9||"Passion"||Christopher Spencer||Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Abraham Christen Liando, Colin Swash, Nic Young||March 31, 2013 (2013-03-31)||11.7|
|The crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus through Ascension, Pentecost and Revelation. During this last episode, Peter denies Jesus and Judas hangs himself; the crowd clamors for Jesus’s death; Jesus is crucified, but when Mary Magdalene goes to his tomb, a figure walks towards her – he is back; Jesus commissions the disciples to “go and preach to all creation,” but their godly mission meets with hatred and even death.|
|10||"Courage"||Tony Mitchell||Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Nic Young||March 31, 2013 (2013-03-31)||11.7|
|Paul has a vision and experiences a miraculous change of faith on a journey to Damascus; Martyrdom of the Disciples, John survival and exile to Patmos, John receives a revelation – Jesus is coming back, and all who keep the faith will be rewarded.|
Reception - TV ratings
The opening episode of the series premiered to very high ratings. The miniseries was watched by 13.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. In Canada, the premiere was watched by 1.05 million viewers. The second installment saw a ratings slippage, but still brought in 10.8 million viewers, tops in all television for the 8-10 p.m. time period. Week three's installment meanwhile garnered 10.9 million total viewers. Although having such high ratings, critical reaction to The Bible has been mixed, as it currently has "mixed or average reviews" at Metacritic, only having a score of 44 out of 100 based on 13 critical reviews.  Roma Downey and Mark Burnett offered remarks March 19, 2013 on the viewership and its anticipated diffusion. He said: "We've realized, on the journey around the country to churches and all over the place, many people cannot afford cable TV. And those people need to see this bible series. So we're rushing the DVD out April 2nd, also immediately with Spanish subtitles. This is very important. And this is only for America and Canada. Now we're about to start around the world. This will be in every country of the world. More people will see this series than everything we ever made; together, combined. Billions of people will see this series. Billions."
There have been claims of a resemblance of the actor that plays Satan with current US President Barack Obama. Glenn Beck was among the first to publicly note this on Twitter. This has led the History Channel to announce,
History [C]hannel has the highest respect for President Obama. The Bible series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s "The Bible" is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history."
urnett and Downey responded in a joint statement,
This is utter nonsense. The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouazanni, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics – including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.
Downey added separately,
"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love for our president, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.
Criticism of inaccuracies
In the introduction to each episode, the message is displayed “This program is an adaptation of Bible stories that changed our world. It endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book.”And while Roma Downey stated in an interview, “we had a great team of scholars and theologians helping us, making sure that we told these stories accurately and truthfully,” the following is a list of story elements in the series that have been criticized as deviating from the description in the printed Bible:
- Noah's sons are depicted as boys in the series instead of grown, married men (Gen 7:13)
- Noah's ark was shown with many windows, when in the Bible the ark only had one window (Gen 6:16, 8:6)
- There was a ram (adult) caught by its horns in a thicket, not a juvenile lamb caught by its leg (Gen 22:13)
- It was Darius the Mede, not Cyrus the Persian who had Daniel thrown into the lions den (Dan 5:31-6:1, 6:16)
- In the Bible, the Devil took Jesus to a pinnacle of the temple when he tempted Jesus to throw himself down, not a high mountain. It was on a mountain that the Devil tempted Jesus to worship him. (Matthew 4:1-11)
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have also released a novelization of this miniseries, entitled A Story of God and All of Us: A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries "The Bible." It debuted at No. 27 on the New York Times Best-Seller List.